One book I can suggest is "How to Cook Everything" by Mark Bittman. Its got tons of recipes and also gives you a lot of techniue illustrations and instructions. I think its a good book for beginners.
Months ago I picked up a 1960-something version of this book, knowing it was a classic. And I have SO MUCH TO LEARN! I really do. Started to read through it yesterday and can't wait to give receipes a whirl!